THE SPARK IS YOU: Parasol unit in Venice (group show)
Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia, Venice
9 May - 23 November 2019.
In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is delighted to present, through a prism of classical Persian poetry, an exhibition of works by nine contemporary Iranian artists at the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia from 9 May to 23 November 2019.
Curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of Parasol unit, London, THE SPARK IS YOU: Parasol unit in Venice exhibition has at its heart the need to develop mutual respect and understanding between different nations and cultures. Fittingly, this exhibition coincides with the 200th anniversary of West-oestlicher Divan (West-Eastern Divan), 1819, a book of lyrical poems written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in homage to the fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafez.
The nine artists, all of whose vision looks beyond the ordinary, were selected for the affinity with openness, respect and human interconnectedness that is evinced in their work. Stemming directly from a long and magnificent tradition of Persian poetry, this philosophy of life is a fundamental element of the Iranian/Persian character. Dialogues open up across the exhibition, not only between the different generations of artists and the geographical regions from which they now draw inspiration, but also through a common desire to interact openly and respectfully with others. And, just as Goethe through his poetry sought to bridge East and West, these artists too seek to communicate mutually across all borders.
THE SPARK IS YOU: Parasol unit in Venice exhibition of paintings, sculptures, installations, multi-media and film brings together Iranian artists of different ages, who now live and work either in or outside of Iran. Having had a similar early education and grounding in classical Persian poetry they have all benefited from thought processes that are rooted in concepts such as the use of metaphor, openness, dialogue and figurative thinking. Shown together, their works create a sense of exchange that is felt in many ways across and beyond the exhibition, not only between the art works but also in the desire of the artists to communicate with thinkers from other cultures, and finally between art and music.
Venice, with its renowned history of being central to so many connections between East and West, is an ideal setting for The Spark is You exhibition. Presented at the Conservatorio di Musica in Venice, visual art and music interact harmoniously, a reminder that different art forms are all part of a single discourse. Each artist presents their work in a separate room or an outdoor courtyard, which allows ample mental space for viewers to reflect on the exhibition and create their own dialogue with and between the works.
THE SPARK IS YOU: Parasol unit in Venice exhibition highlights the vital importance of open dialogue in the development of greater understanding between all nations. Particularly in the tumultuous and uncertain times of today, this exhibition is timely and informative in ways that we hope will further engender curiosity, understanding and appreciation of other cultures and stimulate more conversations.
Nine Iranian Artists in London: The Spark Is You (group show)
Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London
22 May – 30 August 2019
₡ U R ₹ € ₦ ₢ ¥, curated by Lucie Fontaine (group show)
2 March - 19 April 2019
The etymology of the word “currency” relates to flowing, running, and circulating.
Aligned with this liquid condition, ₡ U R ₹ € ₦ ₢ ¥ brings together works that deal with money as a channel, money as a concept, money as a formal (or informal) structure.
In the United States, the birth of Conceptual Art overlapped with the end of the Gold Standard in 1971, and since then, the entwinement of art and finance has become evermore abstracted. The artworks assembled in ₡ U R ₹ € ₦ ₢ ¥ manifest a double value—that of the artwork on the market, and that of the money and materials employed to make this work. From Agnieszka Kurant’s representation of multiple forms of currency to Michal Helfman’s drawing inspired by the greenish imagery of the US dollar and Pratchaya Phinthong’s installation around the exchange of rice in his native Thailand; from Paolo Cirio’s imagination of a new virtual currency to Goldin+Senneby’s bound documents of confidential trading strategies, acquired in exchange for artworks. These artworks perform in various ways the acrobatics of the complex relationships between art and money.
₡ U R ₹ € ₦ ₢ ¥ builds upon Lucie Fontaine’s previous show Soft Shock, which revolved around the origins and philosophy of Bitcoin.
Rineke Dijkstra, Navid Nuur, Michael Raedecker
Freedom - The Fifty Key Dutch Artworks Since 1968 (group show)
Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle
19 January - 12 May 2019
An exhibition entitled Freedom – The Fifty Key Dutch Artworks Since 1968 will open at Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle on 19 January 2019. This ambitious and somewhat unconventional project will feature the fifty ‘key artworks’, the leading works produced in the Netherlands over the past fifty years. Freedom will be deliberately subjective, intended both as an invitation to debate and as a declaration of love for Dutch art. As such, Freedom will be unmissable for anyone who wants to see all the top art produced in the Netherlands over the past fifty years brought together in one show.
Freedom is being curated by art critic and author Hans den Hartog Jager (b. 1968). He has created a number of other exhibitions for Museum de Fundatie: More Light (2010) about the sublime in contemporary art, More Power (2014) about the possibility or impossibility of artists influencing processes in society and Behold the Man (2016), a portrait gallery that presented an overview both of social change and of developments in art over the past hundred years.
In these times of fragmentation, when the meaning of many things that for decades were taken for granted in the Netherlands is being called into question, we want to show the essential power of art: to open up new vistas, to challenge entrenched values, ethical standards and forms, and to reflect and anticipate the spirit of the age. That is why we have opted for ‘freedom’ as the underlying theme. This word has acquired a curious, almost populist political overtone in the Netherlands in recent years. Fifty years ago ‘freedom’ denoted the revolutionary developments that were breaking out of existing patterns, but now it has come to symbolise clinging to ‘authentic Dutch values’. At the same time, it is easy to maintain that a quest for freedom, independence and uniqueness has remained a core value of contemporary art throughout this period.
With the deliberate, almost classic choice of fifty ‘crucial’ works, we hope to highlight the main elements that constantly recur in the current debate. Art should unashamedly show what it can contribute to ideas, what a unique role it can play in society, whether it be a matter of the importance of a tradition (artistic or otherwise), the way in which art represents national identity, or the degree to which it reflects changing relationships in society. However, just as important is the fact that the exhibition will set out to show visitors how much fantastic art has been produced in the Netherlands over the past fifty years, from Jan Dibbets’ Perspective Correction (1968) to Ria van Eyks My Woven Diary (1976-77), from René Daniels’ Aux Déon (1985) to Natasja Kensmil’s Self-portrait with Cross (1999) and from Guido van der Werve’s Number Eight: Everything Is Going To Be Alright (2009) to Melanie Bonajo’s Night Soil #1 (2016). For decades, art in the Netherlands has been strong, vibrant and free – and it is time to put it firmly in the spotlight.
By bringing so many ‘key artworks’ of the past few decades together, we hope to re-energise the debate on the role of art in society. Ultimately, however, we hope above all that Freedom will be a celebration of the power of art, with an exhibition and a book designed to bring pleasure, inform and provoke thought, so important in the world today.
Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle
THE AFTER GLOW III (solo show)
18 January - 21 April 2019
Navid Nuur (Teheran, 1976) is fascinated by the functioning of human perception. His artworks are therefore an interplay between material, architecture and sensory phenomena. Light and darkness are a recurring element in his works of art.
For Navid Nuur, light is anything but unambiguous. In his series THE AFTER GLOW he considers the unbridled possibilities of light with an almost metaphysical curiosity. THE AFTER GLOW III is his latest work of art, which was created together with the NDSM-werf. The light art project intervenes in four locations with the architecture of the old shipyard and adds a mysterious nocturnal brilliance to this location.
Darren Almond, Raymond Hains, Joan Mitchell, Navid Nuur, Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille et al.
Painting the Night (group show)
Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz
13 October 2018 - 15 April 2019
The topic of night has infiltrated current debates concerning society (should we open shops at night or preserve that time for sleep?), the environment (how can we limit night light pollution which prevents us from seeing the stars and impacts natural life?), politics (the French “Nuit Debout” movement, clandestine nightly border crossings), science (we are constantly furthering our knowledge of the phenomenon).
Night-time, and the many questions it prompts, has haunted artists particularly since the late 19th century. Thanks to such ground-breaking discoveries as electrification and lighting, psychoanalysis and the advent of the space age the night has evolved, transforming us in turn: theories have consequently been completely reviewed changing our relationship to the night-tide.
From 13 October 2018 to 15 April 2019, Centre Pompidou-Metz is hosting an important exhibition featuring the night in modern and contemporary painting along with a catalogue and a wealth of associated events.
A prominent source of inspiration in the history of art, the night continues to offer a rich field of investigation. Revisiting such a vast topic spawns numerous profound interrogations on our condition and our place in the Universe and the role Art could play.
Though at first the idea might seem paradoxical, Painting the Night (Peindre la nuit in french) is in fact heavy with meaning. The title is voluntarily ambiguous for night painting could either mean representing the night or painting at night. Painting the dark or in the dark, a choice has to be made either to improve one’s night vision or on the contrary to abandon seeing altogether. Indeed it is at night that we can, both physically and symbolically, at last “disconnect from the world”— a typically modern aspiration. Actually, twilight would be a perfect metaphor for the elusive boundary between figuration and abstraction.
With a focus on the perception of night rather than its iconography, the exhibition intends to be, in fact, a nocturnal experience: as visitors weave their way in they become night-owls, the heady atmosphere of nightlife takes its hold teasing the senses, stirring the inner self inducing cosmic vertigo. One steps into the exhibition as one would step out into the night.
In keeping with the spirit of Centre Pompidou-Metz exhibitions, this show is not limited exclusively to paintings, though these are central, for parallels and resonances are established with, for instance, music and literature, as well as video and photography. The event groups about a hundred artists and historical figures (Winslow Homer, Francis Bacon, Anna-Eva Bergman, Louise Bourgeois, Brassaï, Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Klee, Lee Krasner, Henri Michaux, Joan Mitchell, Amédée Ozenfant, etc.) and contemporary artists (Etel Adnan, Charbel-joseph H. Boutros, Ann Craven, Peter Doig, Jennifer Douzenel, Rodney Graham, Martin Kippenberger, Paul Kneale, Olaf Nicolai, Gerhard Richter, etc.) as well as a number of spectacular installations, some of which were created especially for the project (Harold Ancart, Raphaël Dallaporta, Spencer Finch, Daisuke Yokota, Navid Nuur, etc.).
Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz